With over 30,000 visitors to Errigal mountain during the summer of 2016, the need for an environmentally sustainable approach to allow for the responsible enjoyment of the mountain is a clear focus of the ASCENT project which was launched on Thursday morning at Dun Lùiche by Cathaoirleach Cllr Terence Slowey.
The launch which took place at the foot of the iconic Errigal mountain heard from a number of key speakers including Seamus Neely from Donegal County Council, Michael O’Brien, Northern & Western Regional Assembly, Paul Roarty, Dun Lùiche Community Group Rosita Mahony, Donegal County Council and representatives from each of the partner organisations from Finland, Iceland, Norway, Northern Ireland.
Paul Roarty from the Dun Lùiche Community Group welcomed everyone to the picturesque village of Dun Lùiche and outlined the groups desire to manage the development of Errigal as a resource for the community while at the same time protecting and preserving the unique qualities of the mountain.
Seamus Neely Chief Executive with Donegal County Council paid tribute to the local community for their foresight and commitment to the sustainable development of the mountain. “The need to protect the special qualities of the mountain so it benefits the local community is a vital part of this initiative and I am delighted with the engagement that we have got from the local community here in Dun Lùiche.”
He added “it is all about marrying tourism and economic needs with the needs of our community and to do this we need to be working with all the relevant stakeholders. We have been very fortunate with this positive engagement and I would like to especially acknowledge the support we have received from the elected members of the Glenties Municipal District.”
According to Michael O’Brien of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, this project is being funded under the Northern Periphery & Artic Programme and will see the exchange of learning and knowledge between seven sites that have similarities but which also face unique challenges in their own regions.
In launching this project Cathaoirleach Cllr Terence Slowey extended a warm welcome to the European partners from Iceland, Finland, Norway and Northern Ireland and said “not only have we a shared past as descendents of the vikings who explored the northern islands and coasts of the North Atlantic, we also live in the periphery of Northern Europe in quite rural and remote locations that boast an abundance of natural resources and the highest standards of living in Europe. And today our peripheral mountainous regions are the common factor in bringing us together on this timely and very worthwhile project.”
This project is all about facilitating the responsible enjoyment of Errigal in a way that protects the mountain’s special qualities and benefits the local community. The ASCENT project will see research being undertaken into models of upland access in partner regions and in Scotland, development of a multi stakeholder intervention at Errigal, development of a Management Plan for Errigal, the design of a path for Errigal as well as training programmes on path building and maintenance and piloting path models on sections of Errigal.